In the bleak mid-winter I found myself looking for something that would be able to make it through the rest of the winter without breaking the bank, or my daily: a BMW E39. When flipping through the automotive classifieds. Seeing as I have lived my entire life in Rochester, and having contributed to our Winter Beater Blog: I knew i wanted something squat, front wheel drive, and possibly Scandinavian. It is at that point when I found an ad for a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE for a mere $1200 and decided to abide by the first law of car searching: “Thou shall always take a look.”
What I found was a little bit worse than what I expected, which was then confirmed by a GM Master Check via a Surfwrench Used Car Check. I ended up passing on my chance to buy this “jet fighter on wheels” but not before putting through its paces, and having a great bit of fun.
The 1999 Saab 9-3 SE is a GM made, Swedish designed, small-executive car offering a 2-liter turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine producing 200 HP. Right away, I could tell that there were issues with the turbo charger. It wasn’t coming from a lack of power, rather an excess of heat that was building up, which was then causing a lack of power. When something is overheating in the winter, there is usually a fairly sizable problem. I discussed it with the seller and he said that the car always did that, which told me that it had been neglected for quite some time. Other than that, when the car was cold, it was a good drive: the power delivery was nice and the handling was also very squat, square, and “chunky”. It never felt heavy, but it did feel very solid- this isn’t a terribly heavy car, but you can tell that it is well built—sturdy. Continue reading “Used Car Review – 1999 Saab 9-3 SE”